Friday, November 19, 2010

So Gamers Aren't So Tough Now, Are They?

As all of you are aware by now, I've been playing Star Trek Online since open beta. I love the game and have 6 alts along with my main and will likely have many more over the course of my future play. I bought a lifetime subscription the very moment it became available.

During the initial growing pains of the game I got embroiled in what became an intensely passionate debate with a gang of STO "gamers" (I define these as people who play MMOs and aren't necessarily "Trek-minded" players) who were literally begging for the developers to create what is currently known as the "injury system" or "the death penalty."

Apparently the game as it was, was just "too easy" for them and they wanted the game to not only be more difficult to play, but for all players to actually be penalized if they died during battle.

Now, for people who have nothing better to do with their day than to become hand-eye-key-binding-joystick-manipulating pros - this was a great idea.

For me however? Not so much.

You see, I actually use my keyboard keys to play. I don't measure my personal self on my prowess at PvP - or even playing a computer game to begin with. I play the game on the whole because it's fun, not because I feel the need to challenge myself with how well I can "kill" (especially in a Star Trek-inspired game.)

I simply didn't think that being penalized for not being as good at killing as other players was remotely necessary.

So I bitched.

I got into that player forum and let the devs know that "gamers" weren't the only ones who could shout.

And I shouted.

And it worked. The developers came up with what I thought was a GREAT resolution to the problem - the current "Injury System."

The injury system allowed players who wanted to be penalized to receive an "injury" which had to be "healed." They did this by selecting a more difficult setting at which to play, meaning that their enemies would be more aggressive and therefore, harder to kill.

Just like in real life (which is what I thought the "gamers" were asking for) receiving an injury would make you more susceptible to getting even more injuries - because we all know that if you're in hand-to-hand combat and you take one in the nards - you're going to be open to a kick in the face when you fall to your knees in pain.

I wrote a blog about my first and ACCIDENTAL run-in with this system in my blog of May 12, 2010 called STO Bloodier Than You Might Think. In that blog you can read how I accidentally took a Lt. Commander on a mission with a bunch of Admirals on the "Advanced" setting - leaving me open to injuries ...


...for which I had to PAY to HEAL.

I played at the level that the "gamers" cried, whined and begged for and I paid 3700 Energy Credits (I only had 8000 at the time) to heal myself.

It was a lesson well-learned and I have always played on the "Normal" setting since - the setting I had always played at - because I suck.

I still belong to a fleet (BTW, a really great one called SancTuarY of Wanderhome!) and I play on "normal" all the time. Recently, I was listening in our "vent" and heard two of my fleet-mates running a mission together, accidentally, on "Advanced."

I laughed my ass off. These guys got pummeled. One ended the mission with 13 injuries. By all rights he should have been transported to a trauma ship. But he limped to Sol Station and then to the Medical Officer and healed himself...


I was stymied.



Come to find out - the developers were SO GOOD at giving the "gamers" what they wanted in a death penalty, the "gamers" themselves started to whine that they had to pay a penalty for getting injured.

What. The. Fuck.

Now they play at a higher difficulty level and don't have to receive their precious "penalty" because ... why?

I dare say it's because they're pussies.

To the "gamers" in STO: I will no longer take anything you have to say at face value anymore because you clearly don't know what you want.

To to the developers of STO who caved and created the truly intricate "Injury System" so gamers could simply whine that "it's too hard": I'm so sorry you wasted all that money on that code...

When the "gamers" start to complain that shit ends up on the C-Store because Cryptic wants to make money - you might want to remind them of the costs of you undertook trying to create a death penalty system that they refused to use.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

All Hail....

Since when did we become such horrific people?

Over the course of the past couple days I’ve read news stories that have really shaken me to my core. To say that my patriotism has taken a couple of hard blows is putting it mildly.

Since when have the American people become so heinous?

When did we as a society say that oaths were merely empty promises that were okay to ignore?

We utter oaths to a banner. We utter oaths to the air, but if we don’t put effort behind those promises, how can we as a people say we stand for something when we obviously don’t?

A family had their home burn to the ground over the non-payment of a $75.00 fee.

Firefighters – who took an oath to place their own lives on the line to protect lives and property – shunned that oath when they decided they feared losing their jobs more than helping someone in need.

This is shocking.

This is terrible.

This is more than just heartbreaking – it’s the proverbial canary in a coal mine.

When we are so beaten that we would rather break a promise to a fellow human being than to suffer the consequences of decision we know in our hearts is wrong, we’ve lost.

We’ve lost what it means to be American – the home of free and people who are willing to help a neighbor to assure a strong democracy and the betterment of all of its citizens…

Not just those who can afford $75.00.

All hail the Great American Citizen …

… just don’t ask them to help you when you’re in need. All you’ll get is a fistful of empty promises and a swift kick in the teeth.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just Call Her Bethutus of Borg

Just when I think I've got the simplest grasp on Star Trek Online's ground battles, I'm forced to be reminded of my own lack of skill. This time, like my previous foray into the Starbase 24 fiasco outlined in my last post, I have been forced to abandon all hope. My character, Beth (and I) have failed in our mission to rescue people who were taken captive by the Borg.

Surely, they've been assimilated by now.

Wait - technically, so has my character.


Just call her Bethutus.

My character is now a "Rear Admiral - Upper Half." (Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. I always thought that ranks would be - you know - ranks. Captain> Commodore> Rear Admiral> Admiral> Fleet Admiral ...)

However, since she made RA5 I pulled back from doing any sort of mission with her, knowing full-well that Special Task Force Missions really do require team-work.

Let's just say that my personal life hasn't given me much opportunity to connect with a new fleet lately. The fleet I once belonged to has, for all intent and purposes, merged into a new one. I just haven't joined yet.

In any event, I also put off doing any "regular" missions as well. When Season 2 patched earlier this month, I was all too happy to pull Beth out of the Gamma Orionis Sector and give her a few of the new diplomatic missions that were fed into the game. I like those missions and they've been a wonderful break from the constant and driving stream of battles, shooting and killing.

However, I realized I really did need to get back to accomplish at least ONE mission. So I packed Beth up in her new and stunning attack cruiser, a Sovereign class beaut that the computer had actually provided a decent name for - the U.S.S. Coronado, and headed back to Gamma Orionis.

In order to get her back into the swing of things, we started light. But the few missions in the B'Tran cluster were a lot lighter than I was counting on. One "scan wreckage" mission, an "aid the planet" and a "scan anomalies" do not allow for much practice with enemies in a ground battle.

So I tried three more cluster missions - and right off the bat got what I was looking for ... a ground mission. It provided an excellent challenge with the "flavor of the day" aliens whose names I can't recall, I can only recall that they're not the easiest of enemies to defeat. Eventually however, we did.

A couple more non-violent missions later, including yet another "aid the planet" mission and I felt that Admiral Beth was ready to take on a "real" mission. So I had her hail Starfleet Command.

Captain Klingon guy gave Beth a list of missions in the Gamma Orionis sector from which to choose. One in the middle of the stack was already highlighted, but Beth (like me) is rather OCD in some regards and likes to take missions from the top down. So we asked the good Captain about "Collateral Damage."

Apparently The Borg have been spotted in the Hotep system and the colonists have not been heard from. Sounds like they're in trouble!

Beth is all over it - she loves to rescue people.

So we double check our provisions, accept the mission from Captain Klingon Guy and the Coronado speeds toward Hotep!

But what surprises Beth and her operator when we arrive at the planet, is not just the presence of a couple of Borg spheres - but also the dreaded ... Undine.

I yell at Beth - BETH! You're a freaking Betazoid! Didn't you KNOW the Undine were going to be here too?! Couldn't you at least SENSE that all shit was gonna hit the anti-matter fan BEFORE we warped in?

Beth just rolled her eyes and told me to shut the fuck up - she can't hear what her tactical officer has to say.

I read the tactical officer's report. The Borg and Undine are fighting each other.


We have to fight them both to gain access to the planet and the colony.



Beth cracks her neck and tells me to get to it. As commanded by my alternate persona, I up the power on the main thrusters and we head into battle.

Making sure we don't look like we're really taking sides with anyone, we alternate initial victims. Undine go first in the primary skirmish - Borg go first in the second.

Once we defeat the enemies from both camps, Beth chooses her team. Sometimes she likes to bring two Engineers but this time, she was hopeful that her Tac officers might be more useful, considering that Proto-Drones are pretty susceptible to grenades. So she tells me she wants her "aggressive" team. That means Brint (Cmdr - Tac), Jer (Cmdr - Tac), Crem (Cmdr - Eng) and Jahnna (Cmdr - Sci). I set them all into place and click on "accept."

Usually one gets a slight moment to breathe when you first beam down to a planet - you know, just enough time to get a grip on where you are in the world and then - and most importantly - to arm oneself.

Not this time.


Beth is barely able to get a gun into hands before her personal shields are breached and she takes a massive blow. Strangely, and luckily - she's knocked back far enough that it gives her a moment to run back and out of range and a few seconds later her shields are back at full strength.

She courageously runs back into the melee.

It's carnage.

Brint goes down. While this breaks Beth's heart, she focuses on her job and along with Crem and Jer, they take out the last remaining Borg and Undine that ambushed them on beam-in. Jahnna immediately runs to resuscitate Brint when the first battle is over.

Beth finds, remarkably, a colonist hovering in the corner by the building the team beamed in at. She runs over to him to talk to him. He confirms that there are several others that need rescuing from the Borg and Undine.

Brint, now fully recovered from his prone position in the dirt, interrupts to tell us that the Borg have effectively prevented beaming out the survivors without the use of a pattern enhancer.

Beth is all about getting this guy up to the Coronado.

I'm like - "Hey! Wait!"

Beth - annoyed - says to me... "What now?! Can't you see I'm trying to rescue someone?! It's my job!"

Me: "Uhm - but this guy has been at the mercy of the Borg for who knows how long - his body might be teeming with nanites that could infect the entire ship! Shouldn't we ... you know ... at least scan him first?"

Beth: "You do realize you're talking to an animated character that you, yourself is operating."

Me: "Yeah - so? You can't say I don't have a point about beaming up colonists that didn't somehow already get assimilated."

Beth: "Dude - the game devs aren't that creative. The ship will be safe. Trust me."

Me: "Well, okay - beam him up."

Click on "Beam Colonist to the Ship."

Beth: "Now, we have to find five more of these cowering fools and get them to the Coronado. Let's go."

The team runs down the hill and comes across another group of Borg. Following advice I received from my Twitter friend @Longasc, Beth focuses on the Medical Drone first, then the drones and then, and without warning - Undine beam-in on top of her in the middle of the fight.

Farging bastages!

The Undine alone cause Beth to get hammered and the wretched red light flashes and the stupid word beacons from the screen:


Shit. Click "Respawn."

Beth and the entire team magically reappear on top of the hill. Nonplussed, Beth and the team run back down the hill and, this time, are able to take out the remaining drones and Undine.

Another potentially nanite-infested colonist is shipped up to the Coronado.

Beth and team run onto the next group and this time, the Undine don't show. Another colonist is saved and sent to the Coronado.

Even better luck? As the team moves on, we get a lovely yellow-lettered message from the ethereal HAL-like command that says "New Respawn Point Unlocked." YAY! We don't have to run down the hill any more!

Beth and gang run down toward a large building outside the town center that is protected by a shield the Borg have put into place.

This is where Beth's good luck runs out.

Off in the distance Beth can see a type of "node" that she has to take out in order to drop the shields to save more people.

She never got there.

Between her team and the node stand at least 12 Borg. I tab through the targets to let her choose who she'll kill first and we're both surprised - not one Medical Drone; not one Tactical Drone; not one Heavy Tactical Drones - just regular Drones as far as she and I can see.

She shrugs and tells me to "Just pick one."

So I do.

Then the Undine beam in.

Then more drones.

TWELVE respawns later - this is where Beth - bloodied, tired and as far as I can tell - should have been COMPLETELY ASSIMILATED BY THE BORG - walks to me, looks at me via the camera and says:

"Fuck em. Stupid colonists didn't keep the Borg or the Undine out? That's their problem. Let's ditch these idiots and go back to First Contact Missions."

I nod in agreement and, with heavy heart, click on "Abort Mission."

Beth has been in sick-bay ever since. Poor thing.

I promised her I'd buy her a new dress when she gets out.

She seemed to appreciate the gesture.

I also promised her I'd find a way to help her rescue the remaining colonists - because, while Beth may have given up at this point - she has a serious case of "White Knight Syndrome" - just like her mentor, Captain Picard. She won't be able to tolerate leaving those poor colonists cowering in fear for too long.

So - help me help Beth, would you?

Do you have any advice for her and her team? How can you beat Borg and Undine that keep beaming down and beaming down without end?

Beth will be grateful for any advice you can give.

And so will I. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

STO: Bloodier Than You Might Think...

As most of you know, I’ve undertaken a special challenge to become a “Gamer.” This is especially hilarious considering the fact that my talent in video games is exhibited by the total nerdgasm I get when I reach level four in Tetris.

I have yet to make it to level 5.


You can stop laughing now.

No really, I am HORRIBLE at video games and always have been. My hand-eye coordination is even put to the test when I sew a button back onto my blouse. I have yet to be able to do so without drawing my own blood.

So what the hell made me think that not only could I play Star Trek Online, but that somehow I would find it … enjoyable?

Apparently, I live for self-annihilation. It’s the only explanation.

I have a deep-seeded need to punish myself vicariously through the character I operate on the screen when I play. I even went so far as to join a fleet and subject OTHER people to my grave ineptitude.

Luckily for them however – they were spared my pathetic attempt to join them last Saturday and I ended up in a heap of screaming laughter after I was separated from my fleet. Even the computer thought my attempt to join them was a wildly ridiculous idea and prevented the calamity from occurring.

Last Saturday I met my fleet mates from United Federation Armada in our first ever “fleet action.” This is a team gathering to undertake a fleet mission within STO.

The one we decided to join in on was the “Starbase 24” Fleet Action. This is a mission, like all fleet actions, that can be repeated over and over again. This particular mission has three distinct parts to it: The first part consists of a massive space battle where you have to destroy a set number of a particular kind of battleship and get close to the actual Starbase which has been overrun by the enemy. The second phase is the “ground” portion of the battle where your character beams down with your team and you must defeat numerous enemies and rescue the diplomats that are being held hostage. The third phase is back in space where you must defeat some more enemies and safely transport the hostages to an allied vessel.

All in all this isn’t such a bad mission. I’ve completed it on my own three times. The problem with my most recent attempt was the fact that my utter n00bness revealed itself to my newly befriended fleet mates. I’m not exactly sure how to live this down to tell you the truth.

I showed up on time for the mission.


I brought my Lieutenant Commander character who is a Science Officer and hadn’t yet completed the mission and I figured I might as well kill two birds with one stone by letting him use it to level up a little bit.


No wait! Boo! Bad move Ter – bad, bad, bad - stupid move…

You see. Everyone else in the fleet brought their Admirals.

I showed up in my teeny tiny little science vessel (whopping crew of 100) and sidled up alongside a bevy of Admiral-sized cruisers – each of which had individual nacelles which dwarfed my own entire ship. (Yes, I experienced nacelle envy. How could I not?)

None of us really thought about it, we were all just so determined to accomplish our mission – we kind of forgot about the fact that the system doesn’t necessarily have the capability of letting such ridiculously incompetent officers rub elbows on the same teams as the much more capable Admirals.

I got teamed up with three wonderful men. The decision was made that we would play on the “Advanced” setting – which would be a good medium for those like me who usually played on “Normal” and those that loved the extreme challenge of the “Elite” setting.

I understood that "injuries" could be received on the “Advanced” setting – but didn’t think much of it because I had good teammates to rely on. The team leader made sure that I knew whose lead I was to follow and which baddies I was supposed to shoot first and we all jumped in.

Except I was sucked into a temporal vortex.

My character arrived in the space surrounding Starbase 24 and I flew around shooting enemies but couldn’t for the life of me see where my teammates’ ships were. Were they really that much faster than me? Had I been left in the dust already? I looked at the screen and talked to my fleetmates…they couldn’t see me either. I just shrugged it off and kept shootin’ like a good little Starfleet officer and waiting for a change in orders. But no change came. I busted my ass to make to the Starbase – hoping that my teammates and I would find each other when we got inside…

Alas – that temporal vortex has really done its job well. I had been surgically removed from my team because I was a measly Lt.C. and didn’t have the tools necessary to fight the harder enemies my teammates were fighting in the other dimension.

I stood in the foyer of the ground action – “spoke to” the NPC in the corner to get my mission orders – all the while, still trying to see if my teammates were merely just kicking Klingon ass down the corridor when …

… all hell broke loose.

Suddenly my poor LtC Science officer – armed with a sniper rifle and standard issue personal shield was engulfed by a raging pack of Klingons. Four Warriors, two Swordmasters and a Targ Handler swiftly rushed in upon me and within a single breath, my shields were down and I was sliced into targ treats.

The red flashing light and the word “Incapacitated” bellowed at me from the screen.

Incredulous, I clicked on my favorite “Respawn” button but this time was greeted with a notice I had never seen before. “You have received a Major injury. Broken Ribs.”

I was like… “Fuck you Klingons! Give me broken ribs, will ya?” and I moved forward with my self-esteem packed sniper rifle and took aim at the rat-bastard Swordmaster that had the audacity to break my ribs!

I never got the shot off.

POWPOWPOW – bat’leth rises…bat’leth descends.


Sigh. Click “Respawn.”

“You have received a minor injury. Concussion.”

“Fuck you Swordmaster! I’m so going to get you!” Run forward, aim.

POWPOWPOW – bat’leth rises…bat’leth descends.


Grrrrrrr. Click “Respawn.”

“You have received a major injury. Muscle tear.”

“Muscle tear–schmuscle tear – I’ll show you - you mother fucker!”

Run forward. “There’s the dirty bastard!” Aim.

POWPOWPOW bat’leth rises…bat’leth descends.


“GOD DAMMIT!” Click “Respawn.”

“You have received a major injury. Muscle tear.”

“I’ll show you muscle injury you fucking Klingon scum!”

Run forward – oooh this time I’ll try a new tactic! That’s right I have a KIT! The Kit will save me! Click on Sonic pulse.

Sonic pulse releases.

Pisses off 12 Klingons instead of just 6.

POWPOWPOW! Bat’leth rises…bat’leth descends.



Click “Respawn.”

“You have received a major injury. Combat fatigue.”

*Wipes tears from her eyes. Nods* “Uh huh. I am tired. I’m tired of big mean Klingons. I want my mommy.”

Click – “Abort Mission.”

“Are you sure you want to depart the system – your mission progress may be lost.”



Transwarp jump to Sol System.

I drag my bloodied, sorry-ass little Lt.C. to the Chief Medical officer. “Cost to treat: Muscle Tear 800; Muscle Tear 800; broken ribs 800; Combat Fatigue 800; Concussion 100”


“No. 3700 ECs please.”

“But…but I only have 8900! I’m a god damned Lieutenant Commander! I just got my commission yesterday!”

“3700 ECs please”

“Fuck you. Fuck you and your Ferengi-like attitude. Here! Here’s your stinking money! Now heal me!”

“Thank you – you’re healed.”

“I’m not saying you're welcome, you Bajoran dillweed.”

No answer.

“Fine. Be that way.”

No answer.

Grumbles and walks away.

Later that night I realized what I had done. In my excitement to play with my fleet mates, I didn’t remember that I wouldn’t be allowed to fight along side my teammates due to their elevated experience levels, weapons strength, etc. But my biggest mistake was not leaving the team immediately after I had discovered the game sent me to an “alternate universe battle.”

By staying with my team – I stayed adhered to the setting of the team leader. On Advanced. When I beamed into the Starbase – I should have beamed in with teammates. But they were on a different starbase and I was left ALONE in the starbase scenario I was shipped to. If I had left the team immediately after realizing I had been separated, my NPC bridge officers would have joined me for the ground battle that shattered my character and my self-esteem so brutally.

I only had myself to blame.

I paid my credits – got healed and learned a very valuable lesson.

ALWAYS bring a battle buddy. :)

I’m busy trying to level up my Captain character in order to fully participate in the next “Admirals” fleet action our fleet does.

But – I’m still hording the injury repair kits…just in case.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What do FOX and ABC Have in Common with an Iranian Cleric? A Fear of Breasts of Course!

WARNING! – this blog post is filled with mentions of breasts! If you fear mammary glands – I beg you, don’t read this blog. Better yet go see a shrink, cuz I’d say it’s pretty easy to assume you have “issues” if you do.

Okay all, I promised you a rant, and here it is.

This morning I was made privy to the fact that both television networks, ABC and Fox (both networks that have a flawed reputations for being “family friendly”) have refused to air this wonderful ad from Lane Bryant for their stunning “Cacique” brand of lingerie.

Please watch the offending ad and you can make up your own mind as to what Fox and ABC found so offensive about it that they won’t air it before 9:00 pm (if at all.)

Mind you, I understand that both networks air the equally (if not more so) racy Victoria’s Secret advertisement during the daytime and early evening “family hours” but someone at both networks found the fact that this gorgeous woman in beautiful bras and underwear (which mind you, cover more of her body than most bikinis on television) had too much cleavage which rendered the ads morally unacceptable to air.

Now – the ad shows this woman in her underwear texting her assumed lover (Husband? Wife? Who cares?) who has asked to meet her for lunch. In response, she puts on her coat and leaves the house.

OH FOR SHAME this woman has a love life! EVIL BIG-BREASTED wenches should know they’re not REALLY wanted in society and that no man or woman will ever EVER find them attractive. NO – YOU STAY AT HOME and you stay inside for you are NOT WORTHY of love nor should you have self-esteem enough to think you should ever have someone find your ample cleavage attractive.

ABC and FOX – I hope you all rot in whatever proverbial hell you work in, because it’s actions like this double-standard that are the very REASON women still find themselves feeling inadequate because they wear a bra that doesn’t require “push-up” action like the skinnier size 2 models use in Victoria’s Secret ads. Their feathery wings make them look so angelic that heaven must approve of tinier models than the one seen in the above ad. Right?

It all comes down to the perpetuation of the social stigma that women aren’t supposed to feel good about themselves unless they’re thin and are a perfect cookie-cutter clones of department stores’ mannequins.

FOX and ABC - you have made a corporate decision to say that larger women are more “morally wrong” for purely having larger breasts than a Victoria’s Secret model who wear angels’ wings while she sits pertly for her lover in an old jalopy.

You have effectively told men that women of average size (and I DO MEAN AVERAGE) are not worthy of their affection because cleavage is evil and this wanton woman is about to commit some horrible sin.

Since I don’t believe there is a hell, I will tell you and your idiotic market-share-centric employees that I for one will continue to shop at Lane Bryant and will continue to buy their BEAUTIFUL lingerie and I will now ask the producers of said shows airing on your networks to assure that they’re not being refused ad revenue because you’re afraid of breasts.

Especially when the shows airing likely contain sex scenes with skinny little women.

I really, really loathe hypocrites.

And ABC and FOX – you’re about as hypocritical as they come.

Now, excuse me while me and my DDs go shopping for a SEXY new bra just so I can commit the evil sin of CLEAVAGE.

WHICH BY THE WAY!!! Don’t forget everyone! Tomorrow me and other evil woman are going to dress in CLEAVAGE revealing clothing tomorrow to challenge the Iranian cleric’s theory that scantily clad women are the reason there are earthquakes on this planet.

So by all rights, there should be one MASSIVE earth-ending BOOBQUAKE tomorrow.

Sure – you can blame me. I’m a woman after all – the source of all evil – remember?

Friday, April 16, 2010

4/16/10 Bird Watching? In LA? With Trekkies?

How awesome is that? Really! The following is a press release from John Billingsley who has asked that we get the word out about this great charity event.

I'm only doing what I can. Please do the same!



Los Angeles Audubon promotes the protection of birds and other wildlife through recreation, education,
conservation and restoration. They are celebrating their Centennial with a "Bird-a-thon", a week-long 'species trek' across LA County.

Between May1-May 9, teams, accompanied by experienced birders, will select a Los Angeles County hot birding spot, and venture forth, in a competition to see which team can spot the most species!


Armin, Bob, Ethan “Johnnie” Phillips, and John are forming the “BALD(ING) EAGLES OF STAR TREK TEAM” to help support the conservation efforts of Los Angeles Audubon! The first 30 people to sign up get to join us for an afternoon of adventure! We'll meet at a beautiful location, picnic on a delicious catered lunch, and then set forth to 'bird". Your contribution will also entitle you to attend LA Audubon's CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, held (conveniently for us!), immediately after the conclusion of our afternoon peregrinations. You'll receive complete details re: venue(s), time, directions, etc., upon receipt of your check!

Here’s how to reserve your spot today! Call or email today- space is limited!

Call: 1.888.522.7428 Martha will assist you.

Cost: $150/person


You can still attend the Centennial Celebration! For $50, we can accommodate 20 guests at the Celebration on May 9th (to be held at dusk, in a beautiful outdoor location). The winning team (remember, there will have been a week of birdie rubbernecking) will be lauded, drinks and grub will be consumed, and LA Audubon's remarkable contribution to the health and vitality of our community will be hallelujahed.

Contact LA Audubon to reserve your spot at the Centennial Celebration!

Call: 1.888.522.7428 Martha will assist you.

Cost: $50/person


Support the Bald(ing) Eagles Star Trek Team anyway by pledging a $ amount per species spotted: $1 a bird, for instance. (And if you're fearful of the Bald(ing) Eagles’ bird-watching prowess - Jeez, I didn't know there were that many birds! - set a maximum contribution level for yourself! Your $10, $20, $25 pledge goes a long way to help our feathered friends!)

Call: 1.888.522.7428 Martha will take your pledge. Once the Bald(ing) Eagles are back from the field,
Martha will let you know how many species they encountered and what your
donation will be.

Your participation will help support LA Audubon's conservation efforts: programs you will be helping to fund help rescue and preserve habitats for such beautiful birds as the endangered California Least Tern and the threatened Western Snowy Plover! Join the fun for a great cause!

4-16-10 Skeptics, Atheists and Believers - Oh My!

Once every year or so I find myself in a position of feeling like I have to blog about my position on certain things – if only to help those new people following me or who have become acquaintances on Facebook - understand a little bit more about my views.

As you may already know or have figured out by the presence of the scarlet letter A on the side of my personal blog – I am atheist.

I used to believe in a god, but I no longer do. How and why I finally divested myself of that belief is for another story, hell maybe even a book, but today I feel the need to talk about that dreaded thing “the bigger picture.”

Separate and apart from my atheism – I am also a skeptic. What’s a skeptic you ask? Well, a skeptic is a person who – tries like anything – to use reason as a basis for decision making as opposed to blind acceptance, dogma, anecdote or non-scientific method as foundations of proof for any claim.

It’s why my profile says I’m an “atheist-skeptic”.

Recently, within the skeptic communities I’ve noticed that there seems to have been a real debate as to whether or not deism was somehow weakening the skeptic “stance.”

Number one – skepticism has no stance. On anything. Just like science has no stance – it merely is a process by which we Humans use to help us understand the world around us.

It is entirely possible for a person to have made a leap of faith with regards to the existence of a deity and still be entirely rooted in the use of science and skepticism for everything else.

For people to shun those with faith merely for the existence of that faith makes them fundamentalists – and I can think of no fouler word to describe a person.

Fundamentalism – in all its forms, whether religious, atheist, commercial or philosophical – is a wedge that drives people apart as opposed to driving real debate, understanding and tolerance.

Anti-theists have an opinion that frankly – I really do understand. I’ve seen more pure hatred, crime and tragedy inflicted upon people and children in the name of a deity than I have by any other means. There are many times I wish that everyone would just dump their blind faith to see that greater accomplishments are only achievable when actions are taken instead of the wasting their breath on prayer.

However I am also, above all else, a true believer in the right of others to be able to have that faith and to practice it how they see fit – as long as they keep it in their homes.

Many brilliant scientists are deists and just because they have a need to feel they’re going to have an after-life shouldn’t discredit their work - as long as their work is grounded in science.

The skeptic community needs every single person it has – deist and atheist – in order to help those who don’t even have a basic comprehension of scientific method understand more important things right now – namely the dangers of vaccine and AIDS denialism; the uselessness of homeopathic “remedies”; civil and Human rights; teaching young children to think critically about commercials and the way items are sold to them by misleading advertising; keeping junk science out of our courts; resisting the fundamentalist movement to push creationism in public schools …

… a multitude of problems that face Humanity, whether they’re believers or not.

I don’t want any religion in my government – not because I’m atheist – but because the one problem I really had when I was questioning my faith wasn’t really whether or not there was a god – but which faith was the “right one.”

I went to mass for most of my life and talked 'til I was blue in the face with priests and nuns and clergy. Then I went to synagogue for 2 years and talked 'til I was blue in the face with rabbis. I moved onto the local temple where the Buddhist monks listened and smiled and told me I was normal and that I would find my path. I traveled to the Hare Krishna temple to talk about their faith because I was told I couldn’t be Hindu as one is “born” into that faith and conversion to it wasn’t possible. I’ve spoken to Wiccans and Druids and Mormons and Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Native American polytheists and Pentecostals and Presbyterians and Episcopalians and finalized my religion shopping at a local mosque – where the imam graciously told me that I was doing more than shopping for a new religion – he rightly pointed out I was questioning all faith … to its core.

But the one thing I will always take away from the experience of reaching out to members of those communities is how private faith really is.

And by private – I mean private.

I have no right to tell others how they can believe, the same way those with faith have no right to tell me that I must acknowledge a deity’s existence.

However – as I’ve said before, the word “tolerance” doesn’t mean to accept as fact another person’s faith, ideas or philosophy – it means … tolerate.

It may sound like a mean or nasty term. To say I tolerate those with faith somehow sounds like I don’t like them.

Well – in some cases I don’t. Just the same way that some people with faith don’t like me. As long as they tolerate me and my right to exist without faith … then the system is working.

And maybe those of us in the skeptic communities had better remember that. I think the only way we’re going to be able to help those ignorant of the scientific method or lack the tools to grasp rational thought is to live by example and show others that tolerance is possible and work together to give them those tools.

Just my opinion of course – I only ask you tolerate my right to express it.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Well kids - it's been FAR TOO LONG since I posted a personal blog.

The column at Airlock Alpha is going well (At least I hope it is, I haven't received any complaint to date!) and there's some great news on the horizon over there. I'm not allowed to talk about it yet, but keep your eyes peeled at AIRLOCK ALPHA in the coming week or so to see what's the haps!

Also - TREK UNITED (my first blog home) was sold to Russ Haslage and a few wonderful co-investors over the weekend. I was busy writing up my own offer to buy the site when they announced that a deal was sealed.

I may write about that in my next AA column.

HOWEVER - Today a promise must be kept and a pledge must be adhered to!

A few months ago I promised to dedicate my personal blog to ADA LOVELACE! FINDING ADA is the site that is asking bloggers to make sure that her history and memory remain alive.

Who was Ada Lovelace you ask? She was, simply, the WOMAN who essentially developed one of the first, if not the first, computer programs really.

A woman of what was then considered "fine breeding" - the daughter of Lord Byron, and after her marriage became known as the Countess Lovelace.

I grew up with stories of her - but my grandmother referred to her as "Ada Byron." I think it had something to do with a fashion of suffragettes to keep their own or refer to other women by their maiden names. *shrugs* In any event - that's how I grew up learning about her.

Ada Byron became one of many women that were used to make sure that I would never fall into the societal trap that my intelligence was somehow less than a man's by the pure existence of their penises.

No - seriously. Those words were spoken. "Remember Terry - penises do not mean intelligence. They don't mean stupid either, but they definitely are not a requirement for intelligence."


My grandmother may have thought herself some form of matriarch, but there were those days that her advice kicked the shit out my parents'.

In any event, besides being the descendant of a suffragette myself (my great-great grandmother was Elizabeth Boynton Harbert - founder of the Evanston Women's Association in Illinois) I never really took an interest in anything that was "girlie" any way.

I hated dresses. I loved sports. I adored biology and certain forms of math (geometry especially) as well as

Dun Dun Dunnn......

Science Fiction!

I was just saying this week that my first sci-fi book, and the reason I love all things sci-fi was a book - WRITTEN BY A WOMAN - "A Wrinkle in Time."

I never, ever thought that women weren't somehow already accepted into sci-fi. I was naive enough to think that we were always seen as equal.

I still believe that, I just have a better understanding that there are still a LOT of hurdles to jump to really just be accepted in society. Not for being a woman - but just for being human.

But if my grandmother hadn't have shown me anything about a woman who broke the ultimate mold by just being who she was - a woman of society who was not swayed by the male-dominated times and still shamelessly exhibited her intelligence to her male counterparts - I'm not so sure I'd be so vocal about my own opinions on women's (and human) rights today.

I will always call her Ada Byron. I just will. Maybe as more of a nod to my fiery grandmother's memory than for any other reason. But I have to show you all - and I can only hope that it totally triples my geek cred....

But many of you know that I started playing the MMORPG, "Star Trek Online" when it began a couple of months ago.

In this game - you are assigned a vessel to command, however you are also allowed to select the name of your vessel.

It should come as no surprise to you that my first vessel was happily named:



Sunday, January 3, 2010

1/3/10 New Year and New Stuff!

Hey everyone! The Next "Terilynn's Trek" over at Airlock Alpha isn't due until the 7th, but I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to talk about today. Terilynn's Trek will likely focus on this weekend's exposure to Dr. Who and my thoughts on that, so don't forget to read it when it comes out. You will be able to find the column, as well as all my past past columns HERE. Just click on "Features" and look for "Terilynn's Trek" and click on "Read More" under the column header.

But here at Blogger and (as it's connected via Networked Blogs)Facebook, I wanted to talk about another one of my favorite things.


I love cartoons - whether it's art done for the comic book industry, graphic novels, comic strips or animated shorts or features for theatre or television, I've been a cartoon nut since I first heard Bugs Bunny crunch a carrot or read Peanuts in Los Angeles Times.

I never missed a single day of Calvin & Hobbes while it was in print. Ever. I bought the big ol' books of the C & H strips because I adore them so much.

The Hubby is also a big fan of animation and comics. He was the first to really introduce me to Berkeley Breathed's work in Bloom County and he bought many books of comic strips of The Far Side and we both became big fans of Citizen Dog (sadly no longer with us) and Sherman's Lagoon.

Three years ago, when my love for Star Trek was renewed, I went to a lot. It was the first forum I tried out (I quickly left it as well as TrekBBS for the unbelievably rude people who inhabit the threads) but it was a pretty good resource for this budding ficcer. However, I fell in love with the brand new regular comic strip done by David Reddick called "The Trek Life."

The Trek Life never failed to make me laugh out loud. It was the tale of a die-hard Trekkie and his maybe-not-quite-as-fervent friends as well as his clueless boss and his TNG adoring cat. OMG the freaking funny.

Alas - CBS fired everyone at a few months after I began to visit it regularly and they let the site stagnate. I was afraid I would never see another Trek Life again...and honestly, I really haven't except for their bi-montly appearance in Star Trek magazine. It's really hard to wait 60 days to see another strip with those characters!

However, I have had the opportunity to meet David Reddick on a few occasions now. He currently inks the well-known Garfield strip as well as two original strips for called "Rod & Barry" and "Gene's Journal."

Rod & Barry are two Earth pop-culture loving aliens who have taken up residence on our planet under the guise of planning our assimilation...but they're simply too lazy and too caught up in our televised shows to really give a hoot about their reports.

The boy on Gene's Journal however, is a different thing altogether. Everyone knows the boy is supposed to be Gene Roddenberry living his most unusual life as a pre-adolescent being monitored by two aliens - aliens who try to help him out but in the best "Bewitched"-type way, only serve to make the boy's life more of a challenge.

They're both hilarious and I urge you to read them at

After discovering these two strips, I became aware of David's completely original strip called The Legend of Bill. This strip is a hilarious take on the Barbarian cartoon. Yes, Bill is slightly similar to the Disney animated show "Dave the Barbarian" but Bill, Frank, Princess Gina and gang are just a bit more risque and therefore, in my opinion, are twice as funny. Besides, The Dark Queen rocks my world.

After reading Legend of Bill, I became aware of a completely different original strip available on the net called Moon Town. This wholly unique comic is done by Steve Ogden, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting only over the internet. One day I hope to meet him in person, because he's a genuinely nice person. He's also extremely talented. The colors and styles he uses are just beautiful and really remind me of those (in a good way) "Spaceman Spiff" strips that Calvin would always imagine up when he didn't want to do his school work.

But what struck me so much about Moon Town? Its female character. I seriously know of no other strips that treats its female characters so...well...realistically. Okay - so maybe realistic isn't the actual term, as we don't have spaceships or a mining facility on the moon - but the women aren't just the g-string clad or cat-suit wearing fluff. Captain Cassandra Quinn is a real character - flawed, funny and yes - she's still sexy in her uniform, but she not drawn to the point of distraction or disproportion. I really like her.

Do yourself a favor and give Steve's beautiful work a look-see. I think you'll like it very much.

I'm just now getting into more of the Trek fan animation now. Luckily, Kirok of L'Stok at TrekUnited tends to keep a list of people who are creating some pretty amazing Trek-based work - you can access most of it HERE at the Trek United Animated Fan Production board. If you stop by there, do yourself a favor and delve into the other threads as well, especially for Dispatches from the Romulan War - a great combined effort by a few of the members to tell the untold story of the Romulan War after the end of the Enterprise series. There were intimations that they were going to move forward with an animated strip of the series, and a few sketches were done but nothing has come into fruition yet. Hopefully you can help trigger them into finishing it by showing your interest.

Well- that's kinda all I wanted to do with this post today - was to share the amazing talents of these cartoonists with you today. Please check their work out! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Until my next black-booted blog - t